Direct payments to U.S. farmers are at an all-time high as the nation prepares for a national election next month. Record government subsidies, much needed in the turbulent trade environment and coronavirus pandemic, are projected to make up more than a third of farm income in 2020. In a report by Reuters, the aid programs could be key to Donald Trump’s chances of success in swing states.
The Environmental Working Group called agriculture aid in the latest COVID-19 relief package “old-fashioned vote-buying.” Farmers, facing steep losses stemming from Trump’s trade policies and COVID-19 related market disruption would argue the funds are needed. However, this fall, commodity prices are slowly improving and providing a better outlook for agriculture. Meanwhile, the direct payments have the attention of farm groups in Canada.
Grain Farmers of Ontario is seeking more funding from the Canadian government. One farm group executive from Canada states, “Government funds have allowed U.S. producers an advantage over farmers in Canada, not just on price but money to invest in their operations.”